It is my intention, in the following remarks, first to review briefly the present state of the environment as a world issue in relation to the other major issues which, today, bear upon the prospects for the human future. Secondly, I would like to advance the premise that it is possible to think positively about the human future and to point up some of the principal elements which I believe will be necessary to make that positive vision of the future a reality.
The environmental issue has evolved rapidly in the less-than-three years since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden, in June 1972. Most notably—and largely as a result of what we nowadays commonly refer to simply as ‘Stockholm’—it has become a truly global issue in the sense that virtually all governments and peoples throughout the world have now acknowledged it as an issue of importance to themselves, and have taken at least the first steps to establish national environmental policies and machinery to carry them out. In the developing countries in particular, there has been a literal explosion of interest based primarily on the larger concept of environment and its relationship to development which emerged from the Stockholm Conference.